Ah camping, those days of getting out in nature, smelling the fresh air and recharging. Well, maybe that is a bit unicorns and rainbows, but I think when people who haven’t been camping ever before think of it, they do here a chorus of birds chirping and the sun is ALWAYS shining in their minds.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a camping hater. As a little girl my parents bought a tow behind camper and we would pack my mom, my dad, me and our three full sized boxer dogs, and often a cousin or two into my dad’s truck and away we would go. I have very fond memories as a child of camping. As a family we didn’t go on big road trips or travel to visit relatives or really vacation at all, so that was my travel adventure.
As a parent, I had those memories from childhood plus, my husband is the outdoorsy fishing and hunting type of guy so it was only natural living in the White Mountains of NH that we, as a family
would catch the camping bug. We also had a group of friends who had a mix of tents, campers, or pop-up tent/campers like us. As an only child I loved giving my girls the chance to spend a weekend with a big group of other kids their age and we were a close knit group of people.
However… I was not prepared that the memories of a nine year old girl without a care in the world about safety, hygiene, quiet hours, or even the mechanics of feeding people might not really give me the same warm fuzzy vibes at the age of 35.
I remember one year, we had five families all launch for a long weekend getaway at the very campground I used to go to as a child. What we were not prepared for was the impending biblical flooding rain that would be our constant companion the entire weekend. Once the men went out and bought the store out of tarps and created what looked like a tent city after an apocalypse, there were the 8 children, who had no fear of the rain, or the mud that was created by such a storm. By the end of the first day my friends and I found ourselves in the laundromat of the campground with all the other mothers washing clothes.
Or those times when you ask your husband who is making the reservation to make sure we are close to a bathhouse, because when you are tenting that is your only means of going to the
bathroom, and with a child potty training who refuses to use a potty chair it is top on my priority list. Instead he chooses a site that is the exact opposite of being close to a bathhouse and your entire weekend is spent walking, or in some cases running with said toddler praying you get there before she pees all over her and you.
Having said that, as an adult I enjoyed watching my girls have the experiences I had as a little girl. Meeting new people, and doing things in a different way than they would at home. I look back on the pictures of sopping wet kids dancing in puddles and get those warm fuzzies now.
My husband is still the fishing and hunting guy who would be happy pitching a tent and going that route.
At almost 50, I am not adverse to camping, but I am more the glamping version of camping at this stage of my life. I do believe that the idea of camping is in the eye of the beholder and I am glad I have done it, and that my girls have done it and still enjoy it. We can survive in the wilderness if we need to, but if I don’t have to rough it as much as I did when I was younger I am a ok with that too.